Clean or Unclean?
Our relationship to God is a matter of the heart.
Antibacterial wipes, Hand sanitizer
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People today are very concerned about having clean hands. Many people carry packages of wipes (show wipes) or hand sanitizer (show hand sanitizer). Keeping your hands clean is good, right? (Invite kids to quickly clean their hands using one of the products.)
The Bible tells about some Pharisees who came to Jesus. They liked to be bossy about the rules. "We’ve noticed that some of your disciples are eating without washing their hands," they told Jesus. "Why don't they follow our tradition of washing their hands before they eat?"
"You bunch of phonies!" Jesus responded. "Isaiah must have been talking about you when he said, 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.' "
Then Jesus called the people to gather around. "All of you listen. It's not what goes into your body that makes you unclean, it is the bad words that come out of your mouth. Out of your hearts come evil thoughts, greed, cheating, and envy. This is what makes you unclean."
The Pharisees were more worried about having clean hands than they were about having a clean heart. Are we any different? We work hard to keep our hands clean, but do we guard our hearts against evil thoughts? What kinds of books do we read? What kinds of TV shows and movies do we watch? What kind of language comes out of our mouth?
Clean hands or a clean heart, which is more important?
God, forgive us for our unclean thoughts. Create in us clean hearts to honor You. In Jesus' name, amen.